Friday, 24 September 2010

Author Spotlight week - Excerpt from Conception

Having Shaw teach me the sword may have been a bad idea. I was alone, in this lovely forest clearing, with the most breathtakingly handsome man I could ever have imagined. The fact that the sun was starting to set certainly didn't help, either. With the light fading and twilight creeping in, the whole scene felt romantic. It was going to be hard to learn when the only thing I could truly concentrate on was him.

"Here," Shaw said, handing me one of two sticks that he broke off of a nearby tree, "we can practice with these."

"A stick? Really?"

A playful grin spread across his face. "Well, it's the safest thing we can use. I wouldn't want you to get hurt."

"Maybe you're afraid I'll hurt you." I joked.

"I doubt it," he laughed, looking me over with a skeptically raised eyebrow.

"Now wait a second, you're the one who thinks I have powers. You should be afraid." I smiled and waved the end of my stick at him.

"Alright, come here," he laughed again, and gestured for me to go to him.

My stomach jumped up into my throat as nervousness flooded my body. I tried to convince myself that I simply wanted to do a good job. That had to be the only reason I was nervous. Trying to control my growing attraction toward Shaw was getting increasingly difficult. I took a tentative step forward. He reached over and took my hand in his. Pulling me ever so gently, he moved me to a spot directly in front of him.

"Stand here with your feet about shoulder width apart. Keep your knees slightly bent." I followed his instructions while reminding myself to breathe. It was a meager attempt to stem my nervousness. My heart pounded like a jackhammer in my chest as he circled around behind me. "The type of sword you use will really dictate your fighting style. I use a broad sword, but something more slender would be better for you. I have a nice rapier sword that I might let you have."

I nodded, very aware of his presence just inches behind me.

"Hold your sword in your right hand."

"You mean stick," I corrected. I hoped that joking would ease my nerves.

"Right, but that stick is a formidable weapon," he agreed with a laugh. The moment of levity felt nice, and my anxiousness eased. Until he touched me.

Placing both of his hands on my waist he moved my body into the proper position. All of my muscles tightened from the contact. Then, one of his hands glided up my body and down my right arm, leaving a tingling trail of heat in its wake. "Don't hold your arm so stiff, you want to have a little bit of give in your elbow."

"Is that better?" I asked, making an adjustment. I tried to look over my shoulder at him, but my thick, wavy hair obstructed my view.

He moved his hand off of my arm. Pushing my hair away from his face, he let it drape down my left shoulder, exposing my bare neck. An electrified chill shot through my body when I felt his warm breath on the skin of my neck. Our eyes met and he smiled at me.

"Yes, that's better," he said, holding my gaze, which only left my eyes for a quick second to look at my mouth before returning to my eyes. A long moment passed. Then he cleared his throat and moved in front of me, "Your left hand can do several different things. If you use a rapier, you won't need to hold it with both hands so your left hand can hold a shield. Or, if you don't have a shield, you should probably keep it behind your back, at least until you're more practiced. This way your opponent can't cut it off."

"Hmm," I snickered, "that would be a sight, 'the one-handed savior'. I doubt Leticia would be afraid of me then."

"Ha!" Shaw exclaimed, "Probably not. Okay, the first move I'm going to show you is a simple defensive counter move. Please keep in mind that this move most likely won't work if you only have one hand, but we'll do the best we can."

I chortled with laughter. "I certainly will try, but it will be hard with this stump." I tucked my left hand inside the sleeve of my shirt and raised my arm to show him. Sure it was juvenile, but I couldn't help myself. I was really enjoying this fun, playful side of Shaw.

"I'm so sorry for your loss," he said with mock concern. He held a serious expression for a moment and then we both broke down with laughter.

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